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tv   Military Service Animals  CSPAN  May 14, 2017 3:35pm-3:56pm EDT

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in front of his own interest. that's with jackson did for most of his presidency. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. announcer: recently, american history tv was at the american historical association's annual meeting in denver, colorado. we spoke with professors, authors, and graduate students about their research. this interview is about 20 minutes. bill: we are with chelsea medlock, a history professor at oklahoma state university. one of the more interesting topics we have seen is the use of war animals. how common was it for the u.s. and other military forces to use animals in world war i and world war ii? chelsea: it was really quite common up until right after world war ii going into the korean war. in world war i, you had all types of animals, such as horses, the largest group, followed by pigeons, war dogs, camels, elephants occasionally, depending on the terrain and location, oxen and bull. if you can think of any kind animal, it was probably at least in the war, whether it was a pet or mascot or working animal.
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bill: what were pigeons used for? chelsea: pigeons would be used for carrier pigeons and homing pigeons to convey messages across the lines. bill: messages attached to them? chelsea: yes. one of the more famous ones that the american military used in world war i, its name was sharame. it is credited with saving the lost battalion in 1918.
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bill: is it because the message it was carrying? chelsea: it was shot numerous times and basically died as soon as it landed back at headquarters. bill: is that pidgeon memorialized in any way? chelsea: it has its own memorial, and it has been stuffed in a museum. bill: you mentioned elephants. obviously these are large animals for moving things. what sort of things would they have moved during wartime? chelsea: they could move anything large-scale, mostly lumber and maybe wagons. they weren't used too extensively. they mostly used horses and oxen. bill: the u.s. coming into world
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war ii, the automobile has been invented. there are mechanized tanks, aircraft, but also a great deal of use of horses. so soldiers would be very familiarized with how to handle a horse in terms of its use for hauling canon and other material like that. chelsea: it is one of those things where the industrial revolution is really taking horses out of the cities. you have this great divide between soldiers that are being drafted or volunteering from the city and those that are coming from the countryside in terms of the level of association they have with animals. there's a lot of instances where, especially for the british and americans, you have to go and train the soldiers how to take care of the horses and how to feed them. how often do you feed them, one of the best way to brush their coats and maintain their hose -- their hooves.
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bill: do you find the familiarity of british and american forces was different from that of the german forces? did the sides use horses differently? chelsea: in general, all sides tended to use the same types of animals for the same types of workloads. some examples that might be a little bit different were that the belgians specifically used dogs to move their machine guns, which was a little out of the
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ordinary, but the use of working dogs in general was not. they used dogs for anything from search and rescue and bomb searching later on in world war ii to message dogs. even in world war ii, there was examples of the soviets training dogs as antitank deployment. bill: how would they have been used like that? chelsea: strapped with a bomb and trained to run under axis tanks or nazi tanks and lay down, and then boom.
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bill: give us an idea of the number of dogs that would have been brought in in any unit, sticking with an american unit or something you may be familiar with. chelsea: it could be anywhere between thousands, maybe 10,000. it really depended on the war that was involved. there was less dogs in world war i, a lot more horses. the british themselves used well over half a million horses alone, and then you pile dogs and pigeons and everything on top of it, and the united states was basically the same most of the time. you needed more heavy lifting animals in world war i than you did dogs, but it becomes reversed for the u.s. in world war ii. by world war ii, you have mostly dogs and a few horses.
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the united states actually kept their horse population well into the war and never used it. bill: i assume all these animals come from the u.s.? they are trained and brought over the same way the troops are brought over? chelsea: it comes down to expenses. if it was less expensive to use animals already over in europe, then they would use those. if they needed something a little more specialized, such as mules, they would send the mules over. the u.s. shipped over mules in world war ii for the italian campaign. bill: because of the roads they faced? chelsea: because of the terrain, the mountainous region they had to cross. you couldn't use motorized vehicles very often. in world war i, one of the most fascinating things i found was
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that even though the united states was not in the war for more than maybe a year and a half, and definitely not on the ground more than a year, they were the largest supplier of horses to the british. they shipped over close to hundreds of thousands of horses and other livestock to the british, and then the british would send it into france and other locations that they were fighting on. so the united states, even though they weren't fighting until 1917, they had a very pivotal role in the course of world war i with regards to the logistics that were involved. bill: i think you mentioned the
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germans that strapped explosives -- the soviets, i'm sorry. did the united states ever do that? chelsea: not that i know of. there were some unusual experiments with animals in war in the 1950's and 1960's, where they tried to use animals more as formal weapons, but that was not a big thing for the united states. the united states used more traditional roles for war dogs that they continue to use today. bill: did any of the training ever begin to get pushback in america from organizations like the aspca or other animal where -- animal welfare groups. chelsea: there has always been pushback in varying degrees in the united states, and in
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britain during world war i and world war ii, but one of the things to keep in mind is that during those wars, it was a great sense of patriotism, and so the animal welfare groups are more interested in being involved with the war effort and supporting the troops and supporting the animals that were in combat, so there was a lot of fundraising and sending of medical supplies to the veterinary corps. the pushback was more of an issue of we know you need supplies, we will give you supplies so that these animals have a better existence in the war. we understand you have to use them, and we are not against
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that, but if you could make it just a little bit easier on them, that would be fantastic. host: you mentioned the poor british carrier pigeon, now stuffed, but memorialized. did americans memorialize dogs and other animals who served in the wars? chelsea: one of the biggest ones that is really associated with world war i is sergeant stubby. he was a kind of mascot for a specific u.s. unit. over the course of american involvement, he acquired numerous medals. there's photographs of him wearing this beautiful draped
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cloak filled with metals on both sides for his capturing or alerting the close proximity of german soldiers in world war i to the americans. he has been held up as the prime example for american involvement with regards to animals. another one that has really been memorialized, not so much for his involvement in world war i, even though he was, would be rin-tin-tin. bill: why -- he wasn't involved -- chelsea: he was found by an american soldier on the front lines in the western front as a puppy, and they just made him a mascot. he was involved in the trench life for the americans and
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deployment. when he was brought back, that notoriety from being involved in the war helped propel him into a career in hollywood. then you had multiple rin-tin-tins that carry on his legacy. bill: there is a tradition of fondness for animals in wartime. the union general had the horse who was shot numerous times and was stuffed in a museum in philadelphia, but memorialized there. this seems like this is as much part of that tradition. chelsea: it is an extension of it. one of the things that my research really focuses on is that there is this moving away from emphasizing individual animals to memorialize war animals in general.
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there is this push from both soldiers and animal welfare organizations during world war i into world war ii that we think that we should think about them as combatants in and of their own right, and we should honor their service as a whole. so you see a lot of memorials devoted to all animals of world war i or all warhorses that fought with us. that is the trend that is starting to really take hold at the turn of the 20th century. we see it still playing out today with a lot of memorials that are popping up. bill: before our conversation, one of my colleagues mentioned the photos he had taken of a cemetery in guam of a memorial for service dogs.
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chelsea: there are not so many pet cemeteries that i know of of actual war animal cemeteries. one of the issues is that, just like in britain, there is an issue for the united states with the expense of shipping animals back home, a quarantine -- of quarantine issues, so a lot of time the animals had to stay where they were deployed. you had to go through a lot of red tape to get animals back home. a lot of times, they just had to stay put. host: what first got you interested in this area of military history? chelsea: when i was an
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undergraduate, i actually did my research on motorized technology. i was looking at the history of automobiles and trains and airplanes with regards to world war i, and how it was supposed to be removing horses from the battlefront. what i came to realize is that that wasn't happening in world war i specifically. so i refocused my interest to look at this less dramatic part of world war i, which was the animals and what they were doing to help with the war effort. bill: the program you're presenting here at the american historical association is the supplementation, memory, and veteran status of war animals since 1900. specifically, what do you hope people learn from that? chelsea: the biggest thing i want people to take away from my talk is this idea that we now really have come to expand the definition of what a veteran is.
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it is still really developing, and it is new even today, over 100 years later. but that is what i am trying to convey, that animals deserve -- that there is a trend of animals deserving this type of moral status. bill: it would seem up there is a direct parallel to police officers who are canine officers. most of those officers view their dogs as their partners. chelsea: exactly. there is police canine funerals funerals you see on social media all the time. you can see military versions of that, even as late as last year.
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bill: we want to thank chelsea medlock, history instructor at oklahoma state university. we have been talking about the issue of the use of animals in wartime since 1900. thanks for being here with us on "american history tv." chelsea: thanks so much for having me. announcer: you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of -- visit our website and yours -- tv schedule, review of coming programs, and watch watchers -- archival films, and more. american history tv, and >> tonight on afterwards, physician and journalist -- examines the business side of health care, and american business, health health care became big business. and how you can take it back.
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dr. rosenthal was interviewed by david blumenthal, president of the commonwealth fund. >> i was wondering if your books give you any thoughts, on whether health care is a free market, with a consult our problems in health care through free-market forces. the answer is probably not. at the beginning of the book i put it -- the economic rules of dysfunctional health care market. care as ank of health purely business proposition that the market will solve, gets too , a lifetimes like of treatment is mature. nothing for second and one things that about market forces push you. >> what this tonight at 9:00
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eastern on c-span2's book tv. >> this year c-span's touring cities across the country, exploring american history. the a look at our visit to redding, california. americanatching history tv, or weakened every weekend on c-span3. lori: at the height of california's gold rush in the 1850's, this town of shasta had 7 hotels. saloons, bars, bookshops, wholesale businesses, retail. you can see the shell of the businesses across the street, ones that were oftentimes abandoned between the 1870's and the 1880's when the county seat moved from the courthouse in this building into downtown redding.


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